Stage Capsules

I Just Stopped by to See the Man

By Stephen Jeffreys. Through July 19. The M Ensemble, 12320 W. Dixie Hwy., North Miami. General admission tickets cost $25. 305-899-2217; themensemble.com

The M Ensemble’s latest production plumbs the depths of the blues — what they give, what they take away, and where they’ll leave you. Paul Bodie plays an old and reclusive blues legend, long thought dead by his admirers, who is attempting to enjoy his old age and the company of his daughter in a shotgun shack in Mississippi. His bucolic retirement is interrupted by a young rock star who, during a pilgrimage, stumbles upon his hideout and attempts to lure the old man back to the biz.

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The New Century

By Paul Rudnick. Through July 19. GableStage at the Biltmore, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables. Tickets cost $42.50, $40 for seniors. 305-445-1119; gablestage.com

The New Century introduces us to people we've known all our lives — the unhip Midwestern crafts queen, the fabulous elder gay man, the stern but loving Jewish mother — and thrusts them into a new and confusing age that neither they nor we know a lick about. That age, filled with unfamiliar family structures, changing moral codes, and upended social norms, fills them with fear and hope. Thanks to Paul Rudnick's big-hearted writing and John Felix, Patti Gardner, and especially Sally Bondi's even bigger-hearted acting, The New Century can be seen as an instructional, explaining how to behave decently today.

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Bent

By Martin Sherman. Through July 19. Rising Action Theatre, 840 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Wilton Manors. Tickets cost $35 to $60. 954-561-2225; risingactiontheatre.com

Martin Sherman's play about three homosexual men's defiance of the Nazis in the mid-1930s is the heaviest thing Rising Action Theatre's ever hoisted onstage, and all involved bear its weight with grace. Director/star Larry Buzzeo is admirably understated, and the performance of his costar, John McGlothlin, is a pure blessing. Despite a low, low budget and a cast seemingly cobbled together from Community Theater vets, these men ensure that Bent remains a dignified and moving tribute to men with no other memorials.

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Fuerza Bruta

By Diqui James and Alejandro Garcia. Through August 2. Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. General admission tickets cost $63.75 and $73.75. 305-949-6722; arshtcenter.org

Fuerza is a plotless little effusion of the avant-garde playing inside a loading bay at the Arsht Center. It doesn't contain enough good ideas, but the ideas it offers are brilliant. For its first hour, Fuerza is shocking, unpredictable, and weird — you spend the whole show standing up, and the action is constantly springing into existence all around you. You never feel entirely safe. At any moment, it seems the actors or the crowd might turn on you. Both are savage, both are tense — several times you will see rowdy young men in the crowd grabbing and tearing at flying set pieces or grasping at the breasts of young maidens writhing around in a transparent pool of water suspended just above your head. This is probably intended. Throughout Fuerza's two-hour duration — which includes flying ninja ladies running perpendicular to the ground, a man in a business suit smashing through walls before being shot to death, the aforementioned water nymphs, and a whole lot of spastic dancing — you get the sense the whole thing is a kind of psychic jujitsu.

 
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